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Blitzen Trapper: Wild Mountain Nation

Blitzen Trapper: Wild Mountain Nation

Label:Lidkercow Ltd.
Release Date:2007

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 6/27/2007

Country rock may be the clay that Blitzen Trapper molds, but this reclusive Portland, Ore., outfit makes steamrolling the genre's hoedown parameters its guiding principle. Thus, there's a roguish, freewheeling randomness to Wild Mountain Nation that's thrilling even 20 listens in. Led by vocalist Eric Earley, Blitzen Trapper teases with genuine-ish country articles like the indisputably hummable, good-natured title track (crying out for a Dukes of Hazzard-homage YouTube video) and the defeated, limping pedal steel of "Badger's Black Brigade." Elsewhere, though, the going gets wacky. "Sci-Fi Kid" has a lollipop-sweet but hard strum that's dumped into an electronic-effects blender early on, only to later be poured out as a dance-club smoothie. The irrepressibly power-poppish "Murder Babe" is chased by crispy riffs that threaten to eat it alive.

And when Nation then heaves the baby out with the moonshine-laced bathwater, the album finds itself even further afield. "Hot Tip/Tough Cub" fiddles with an imitation of Thurston Moore circa Psychic Hearts before fleeing into catacombs full of gentle feedback, and while it's little more than a rampaging, synth-ravaged intermission, "Woof and Warp of the Quiet Giant's Hem" nonetheless demonstrates an indie-pop craziness that Super Furry Animals should give themselves over to all the time and that Of Montreal once honed to a science. Therein lies Blitzen Trapper's strength, and possibly its eventual Achilles heel. Nation and the Blitzen Trapper albums that came before it are musically more fun than a beached Valdez full of monkeys on PCP--while lyrically amounting to exactly nada. For now, though, crack a brew and party on.

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